KATHMANDU: Even after months of hectic exercises, the issue of seat sharing has not been able to draw a concrete and logical end.
The issue has become complicated since the parties of the ruling alliance did not budge an inch from their demands of claiming more seats.
Janata Samajwadi Party (JSP) Chairman Upendra Yadav has warned that he would quit the five-party alliance if he was not satisfied with the distribution of seats.
In this context, Khabarhub’s Dhiraj Basnet approached JSP spokesperson Manish Suman to talk about the JSP’s demand on seat allocation, JSP’s strategies for the forthcoming elections, and the party’s stand on the issue of the citizenship bill. Excerpts:
What is pulling the parties back when it comes to the allocation of seat distribution in the ruling coalition?
The reason is that all five parties want more seats. The Janata Samajwadi Party has a major role in forming this coalition.
After the then Prime Minister KP Oli dissolved the Parliament on December 20 last year, we took to the streets protesting Oli’s move, which we labeled “unconstitutional”.
The five parties that fought against Oli’s move contested the local elections together. Now there is a coalition government in all the seven provinces and even at the center.
We still want the alliance to move forward. We have been trying to address the issue on the basis of three principles for allocating seats. One is the election of the House of Representatives in 2017, the second is the election of the local level in 2022 and the other is the management of specific leaders of the coalition.
We are confident that the seat allocation will be settled on this basis. Chairman Upendra Yadav could not attend the meeting on Sunday that was supposed to be held after the task force submitted its report.
We are adamant that a meeting should be held in the presence of all the leaders and a conclusion should be reached accordingly.
You are still entangled in the seat distribution but UML, which is saying that it will defeat the coalition candidates, has moved forward. Will the delay in seat allocation not affect the election preparations?
It is delayed only on the matter of seat allocation. We have already reached out to the people. We are campaigning for the election, but the kind of strife that has been seen in the seat distribution of the ruling coalition for a long time is unnatural.
If the division of seats within the ruling coalition continues to be tight like this, will JSP quit the alliance?
JSP is a self-respecting party, we are the key factor of this coalition. It is not acceptable for anyone to divide the constituencies on the basis of how one can become the prime minister in the days ahead.
If there had been no alliance, every party would have gone to the elections alone. The alliance is not formed by chance.
The coalition was formed to strive against the dictatorship of then Prime Minister KP Oli. When Oli was the prime minister, all offices including the head office of the country’s National Vigilance Center, the office of the Chief Commissioner of the Commission for the Investigation of Abuse of Authority, and the office of the Chief of the National Investigation Department, all were moved to the Prime Minister’s residence, Baluwatar.
There were hoarding boards on the streets with pictures of Prime Minister Oli. His government just worked on how to eliminate other parties and how to implement a single-party system. The current coalition was formed to counter such forces.
JSP will not quit the coalition even if two or four seats go up or down, will it?
We are not asking for more seats. In particular, we have requested everyone to move forward together. We have asked to prepare a blueprint from Taplejung to Darchula and proceed ahead. Criteria should be made on the basis of 165 seats. We have claimed 40, and we will agree on 32 seats.
What is your election agenda other than criticizing UML Chair Oli?
If someone does something bad, they should be criticized. We disagree with those who attack the federal democratic system. To move our agenda forward is to show that the deceivers must bow down.
Our agendas are the agendas of the people. They are pro-people and suit public expectations as they are closely connected with the issues of people’s livelihood. In addition to it, ensuring good governance and ending all sorts of discrimination are also our agendas.
If the President does not certify the Citizenship Bill, can the ruling coalition impeach the President?
The Constitution envisages that the President will certify the Citizenship Bill. If she does not verify within 15 days, the government will publish the notice of the Citizenship Bill on the 16th day. Then the President should resign. If she does not resign, we will go to court.
This time you have been recommended from Constituency No. 2 (B) of Saptari. Are you in the race for the Chief Minister?
This matter is decided by the party itself. There is no sense in discussing it unless the party decides.